REBELLION Racing will be starting from pole for tomorrow’s American Le Mans Monterey race thanks to a fantastic qualifying run by Neel Jani. The Swiss Squad takes its second American Le Mans Series pole this season despite being rookies on the 2.238mi (3.602km) Laguna Seca circuit.
Feeling that he got the most of his car, Jani pulled into the pits and hopped out after completing just 7 laps.
The REBELLION Racing team, however, was left holding their breath even after the chequered flag thanks to a last minute run from ex-REBELLION Racing driver Guy Smith in the #16 Dyson Racing machine.
Smith, who crossed the start-finish line just before the end of the session, went on one last flying lap. He crossed the line with a lap of 1:13.806, 0.377 seconds behind; not enough to bump REBELLION from the top qualifying spot.
Today’s pole serves as the perfect present for Nick Heidfeld who will take the start in tomorrow’s race and is celebrating his birthday today.
1. #12 REBELLION Racing 1:13.429
2. #16 Dyson Racing 1:13.806
3. #8 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing 1:13.954
The four-hour American Le Mans Monterey race takes starts on Saturday at 15:30 local time, 23:30 GMT
Neel Jani: “Another pole position. I am happy with my record in ALMS qualifying so far. We’ve had every pole position possible this season. A big thanks goes to the team. It’s the first time for us at Laguna Seca. Today proved that we have a very good base set-up which allows us to go wherever we want and still be immediately on pace. To start on pole for tomorrow’s race is always very good, but we all know that in America it’s all about strategy and traffic management, so that’s what we are focusing on now.”
Nick Heidfeld: “So a good job by Neel who got pole again. Tomorrow will be important in terms of championship points, so we will be doing our very best to have the best race possible. Apart from qualifying, we had a few practice sessions today which were positive, as yesterday was the first time that we were here with the car. We managed to continually improve the car during these sessions which was not only crucial for qualifying but I think will also give us a good race car for tomorrow.”
Bart Hayden: “Congratulations to Neel and indeed the whole team for a superb job in getting the pole. It’s close with the other P1 cars, so we know we have a fight on our hands in tomorrow’s race, but we are ready and looking forward to the race.”